Fun At The Drive-in, Yeah Right

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

I’m still running on about drive-in movies. Every now and then a restricted movie would show up at the drive-in. Remember, we are talking about a restricted movie from the ’50s when all married couples in films had to have twin beds. Some of the stuff you had to be eighteen to watch back then can be seen on Sesame Street today. There was a rumour going around Orillia that a young couple was refused admittance because they had a six-month old baby in the car and the sign outside said, No Admittance Under Eighteen. As dumb as it sounds, I believe it.

They started to ease off on the restrictions in the mid-60s. One night my wife and I took the kids to the drive-in hoping they would drift off during the first picture and sleep while we watched the kinky stuff. Sure enough, they fell fast asleep right on cue and didn’t wake up until the middle of the feature film at the exact moment the hero was helping a starlet remove her undershirt. I left it up to my wife to explain what was going on. I thought she did a fine job of satisfying their innocent curiosities until a few days later when several of the ladies in the neighbourhood started complaining about our boys peeking in their bedroom windows.

Trying to enforce censorship at a drive-in movie is like a woman wearing a plunging neckline to a dance at the Tanbottom Nudist Resort. It makes no sense at all. No matter what was showing on the screen, there was far more showing in any back seat on the lot.

The biggest problem for most of us at the drive-in was the lack of opportunity for romance. There were never less than four people in the car. More for safety than company, girls usually preferred double and even triple dating. It was one thing to get into the heavy petting when you were alone with a boy. It was quite another knowing that Fred and Ethel and Joe and Alice might be watching you in the rear-view mirror.

There were major drawbacks to watching a movie at the drive-in. The car companies were no help. None of the Big Three auto manufacturers cared enough for their fellow man to put any amount of research into the most aggravating problem of watching films in the great outdoors – foggy windows. You could always judge how far along a couple were along the path to bliss by the amount of steam creeping up the windows.

It usually cost $2.50 a carload to get in and $35.00 for gas to keep the windows clear. It would have been impossible to show The Ten Commandments at a drive-in. The Israelites would have thought the Promised Land was Cornerbrook, Newfoundland with a pea-souper coming in off the Atlantic. Usually the guy could care less, but his girl was trying to watch the picture, or at least have some idea of the plot in case she had to face an inquisition at the breakfast table the next morning.

As I think back, drive-ins were a disaster. When we weren’t trying to clear the fog from the glass, we were whacking mosquitoes. When we weren’t whacking mosquitoes, we were blowing the horn at some jerk who turned his lights on washing out the picture. When we weren’t blowing the horn, we were starting the car to get some heat. It was non-stop frustration.

If I ever get the chance to re-live my youth, I think I’ll skip the drive-ins and take a chance on her couch. Then all I’ll have to worry about is her old man coming down the stairs.

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